Growing Returns

Selected tag(s): rural water

Arizonans have spoken: It’s time to protect rural groundwater.

Across roughly 80% of Arizona, there are virtually no groundwater regulations, meaning that anyone can drill a well and pump groundwater, even if it dries up neighboring drinking wells or depletes flows in nearby rivers and streams. It’s the land of “the deepest well wins,” putting livelihoods, communities, agriculture and ecosystems at risk.

To help address this risk, state Rep. Regina Cobb introduced legislation two years in a row that would safeguard critical groundwater supplies by providing at-risk groundwater basins or subbasins in rural Arizona the opportunity to opt in to Rural Management Areas (RMAs). Doing so would trigger the creation of a local advisory board that can leverage a suite of tools to develop a groundwater management plan that considers local needs and context.

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